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Summer Movie Preview 

by LUKE BAUMGARTEN, MICHAEL BOWEN, ANN M. COLFORD, JACOB H. FRIES, MICK LLOYD-OWEN, TAMMY MARSHALL, TED S. McGREGOR JR., DOUG NADVORNICK, JOEL SMITH and KEVIN TAYLOR & r & & r & & lt;span class= "dropcap " & L & lt;/span & ast year's summer movie season was all about sequels. This year, sequels make token appearances. The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor is the third film in the Mummy series. There's another Star Wars film, Star Wars: The Clone Wars and there's a second Incredible Hulk. But the sequel that most movie fans are excited about is Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, the fourth in the series and the first since 1989. Harrison Ford is now 65, but actually doing movie stunts. Many fans will be pleased.





This summer is also about movies made from TV shows. Sarah Jessica Parker and the rest of the Sex and the City cast are now reprising their roles on the big screen. Steve Carell is the spitting image of Don Adams in Get Smart and David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson bring The X-Files to movie theaters.





Here's information we dug up about 48 movies that will likely hit the Inland Northwest this summer, with likely dates of release.





--DOUG NADVORNICK





THE TOP 15 MOVIES OF THE SUMMER


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THE DARK KNIGHT


Rated PG-13 * July 18


& lt;span class= "dropcap " & I & lt;/span & f anything has us hopping up and down, flapping our hands with nerd glee more than the new Indiana Jones, it's The Dark Knight. The sequel to Christopher Nolan's successful naturalistic re-interpretation of the Batman film mythos, Dark Knight introduces a much more harried, much crazier-looking Joker (Heath Ledger, right, in his final film role, utterly disappears into the character) than the admittedly wonderful Jack Nicholson version.





The film also gives rise to the character Harvey Dent (played by the chisel-jawed Aaron Eckhart), a long-time friend of Bruce Wayne who will eventually become one of Batman's greater nemeses, Two-Face.


Michael Caine's back, as are Morgan Freeman and Gary Oldman. We know what happens to kiddies who get their hopes up during the summer blockbuster season, but we can't help ourselves. There's going to be a Batcycle, for God's sake. We couldn't be more stoked. (LB)





SPEED RACER


Rated PG * May 9


& lt;span class= "dropcap " & H & lt;/span & ere he comes, here comes Speed Racer -- he's a demon on wheels. If you're old enough to remember the anime cartoon from the 1960s, you probably have kids who don't. The makers of The Matrix and V for Vendetta have spent $120 million to close that generation gap for you -- their first attempt at a family film. Shot entirely against greenscreen in high-definition video at Babelsberg Studios in Germany, Speed Racer promises to be another visual extravaganza in the Wachowski tradition. The live action film is explosively colorful and strives for a "real-life anime" appearance.





Obsessed with racing from his youth, Speed Racer (Emile Hirsch) wants to win the Crucible, a cross-country rally in which his older brother was killed. Driving the legendary Mach 5 -- designed by his father -- Speed enters a showdown with the evil corporate interests that control the rally. (MLO)





THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: PRINCE CASPIAN


Rated PG * May 16


& lt;span class= "dropcap " & I & lt;/span & f The Chronicles of Narnia strikes you as The Lord of the Rings all over again, you're right. Both were filmed in New Zealand, sharing some of the same special effects geniuses -- and C.S. Lewis (author of the Narnia series) and J.R.R. Tolkien (author of Lord of the Rings) were best friends. Now we have the second film, three years after the first was released -- but the film takes place 1,300 years later than the first, but that's just one year later back on Earth. Got that? Suffice to say that the Pevensie kids who wandered through that wardrobe are back in a ravaged Narnia -- King Miraz is subjugating the people, while Prince Caspian is leading a rebellion with Aslan's roar of approval. In the clash of morality and special effects, what will kids remember? (TSM)








INDIANA JONES AND THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL


PG-13 * May 22


& lt;span class= "dropcap " & F & lt;/span & rom Nazis to Soviets we go. Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, the fourth (canonical) film in the Indiana Jones series, takes place 19 years after the last left off. No one knows much more than that. The Skulls, like all artifacts in the Indie sagas, aren't just old and valuable, they have some kind of mystical powers. Soviet Agent Irina Spalko (Cate Blanchett) is after them and the American military somewhat forcibly enlists Dr. Jones (still played by Harrison Ford, thank God) to get to them first.





The film's directed by Steven Spielberg, who wanted to play up Indiana's age as a source of recurring humor. Ford's getting pretty old, but he's actually doing more of his own stunts. All things to get excited about, wethinks. We're withholding judgment on casting Shia LaBeouf as greaser Mutt Williams. (LB)





SEX AND THE CITY


Rated R * May 30


& lt;span class= "dropcap " & T & lt;/span & he girls are back on the boulevard, along with their Manolo Blahniks, their fabulous fashions -- including wedding duds! -- and their cosmopolitans. Looks like the film version sticks close to the HBO formula, with Carrie narrating in voiceovers as the action unfolds. The story picks up about four years after the season finale (which aired -- big surprise -- four years ago) with Carrie finally planning her dream wedding with Mr. Big. (And, yes, we finally learn his full name.) Ah, but all does not go according to plan, alas. Meanwhile, Charlotte, Miranda and Samantha face pregnancy, infidelity and fashion faux pas with dignity and friendships intact. Most of the behind-the-scenes originals from the series are back, including writer/director Michael Patrick King and fashionista Patricia Field. But only time will tell whether it's more than a 135-minute TV episode. (AC)





KUNG FU PANDA


Rated PG * June 6


& lt;span class= "dropcap " & I & lt;/span & t's rarely a good sign when a movie has two directors and four people getting writing credits. That sort of front-end crowding is typically a signal that a rescue team was called in for spackling and bondo work to cover disasters. But what could possibly go wrong with a Dreamworks CG-animation about a chubby, lazy Panda (voiced by Jack Black) who works in a noodle shop and -- to the surprise of all -- is the Chosen One who will defeat an evil villain and restore peace to the world? Po the Panda trains with the best kung fu fighters (Dustin Hoffman and Lucy Liu among others) in his journey to self-knowledge. Josh Tyler, a critic posting at Cinemablend.com has these pithy sentences: "Kung Fu Panda looks an awful lot like an all-animal animated version of Chris Farley's Beverly Hills Ninja. If only poor Chris were here to cash in on it." (KT)





THE INCREDIBLE HULK


Not Yet Rated * June 13


& lt;span class= "dropcap " & A & lt;/span & fter Ang Lee's morose, emo and, above all, poor-grossing Hulk (2003), we guessed Paramount Pictures would shelve the franchise indefinitely. Instead, it has rebooted the series after only five years.





The government goes looking for Bruce Banner, who's been in some hovel somewhere trying to undo his hulkishness. When they fail to catch him, they allow a mercenary (Tim Roth) to be pumped full of hulk juice. That plan, naturally, goes awry.





The good: Ed Norton stars and also gets primary screenwriting credit (as "Edward Harrison"). The bad: Director Louis Leterrier (Transporter 1 and 2) is Ang Lee's opposite -- all action, no mood. The potentially very ugly: The other screenwriter is Zak Penn, responsible for the final two X-Men scripts (good, not great), but also the abysmal Inspector Gadget and Elektra, truly one of the worst films ever made. Still, we love Norton. (LB)





GET SMART


Rated PG-13 * June 20


& lt;span class= "dropcap " & S & lt;/span & teve Carell is a dead ringer for Don Adams in this remake of the classic '60s spy spoof TV series, in which Agent 86 repeatedly bumbled his way into saving the world from destruction at the hands of nemesis spy group KAOS. Originally created by Mel Brooks and Buck Henry, this adaptation is directed by Peter Segal (50 First Dates, Tommy Boy) and, at least in the trailer, is spun as a high-octane action movie as much as a physical comedy. Still, Carell has Adams' deadpan down, and he has a talented ensemble cast at his disposal (Anne Hathaway as Agent 99, Alan Arkin as Chief and The Rock as new character Agent 23). Expect telephones to appear in unexpected places and catch phrases like "Would you believe...?" to infiltrate the vocabulary of a whole new generation. (JS)





WALL-E


Rated G (likely) * June 27


& lt;span class= "dropcap " & S & lt;/span & even hundred years from now, two robots fall in love -- in an animated movie with very little human dialogue. (Most of the mechanistic "voices" are computer-generated.) Sounds like a tough sell, until you realize that it's a Disney/Pixar venture from director/visionary Andrew Stanton, who wrote A Bug's Life, both Toy Story movies, Monsters Inc. and Finding Nemo. (As track records go, that's fairly decent.)





Seems that humanity trashed Earth and then left, leaving behind an army of robots to clean up the mess. WALL-E is the last of his kind, and he has evolved a cute little Pixar personality all on his own. As for that whirring-tweeting-grinding sound track: Sound designer Ben Burtt (Indiana Jones, E.T., Star Wars -- again, not a bad pedigree) jokes that he's basically making "R2-D2: The Movie."





So, a cutesy Pixar robots movie with a cutesy score. It'll make bazillions. (And impress the kids with your knowledge: The robot's name stands for "Waste Allocation Load-Lifter -- Earth Class.") (MB)





HANCOCK


Not Yet Rated * July 2


& lt;span class= "dropcap " & Y & lt;/span & ou got dramatic actor Will Smith and action actor Will Smith. Dramatic Will is intermittently decent. Action Will almost always sucks. Sorry ladies. Sorry Dad. He does. Son just flips his "sassy blackness" switch and rides a wave of ethnic swagger that's less character than caricature.





That may be changing for the better, though. I Am Legend -- which melded action and dramatic Will into a nuanced fighting machine -- was a step in the right direction. Hancock, which finds Smith a reluctant, destructive, homeless, possibly alcoholic superhero... well, it could go either way. The trailer is rife with sassy blackness, which is problematic, but Smith's got scruff and a clear mean-streak. Depending on how the script, director Peter Berg and Jason Bateman (as the PR person brought in to rehabilitate Hancock's image) play it, Hancock could be another winner. (LB)





HB II: THE GOLDEN ARMY


Not Yet Rated * July 11


& lt;span class= "dropcap " & T & lt;/span & he first Hellboy (2004) is never going to be on any list of significant films, but boy was it fun -- the rare movie made from a comic book (Ooo! Excuse me, graphic novel!!) that wasn't self-important or grandiose and even revels in its own sleaziness. Ron Perlman helps a lot when it comes to that, of course, just for the way he smirks like a somewhat evil Tom Waits. And then there is Guillermo del Toro, who is reported to have turned down chances at directing Halo and the next Harry Potter film for Hellboy II. His glee at making this sort of monster movie infuses it with all that fun. Plus he brings all the artistic chops of Pan's Labyrinth. For a bonus, check out del Toro's first hookup with Perlman, the 1993 Mexican film, Cronos -- a unique, memorable take on the vampire movie. (KT)





JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH 3D


Rated PG * July 11


& lt;span class= "dropcap " & B & lt;/span & rendan Fraser in 3D? Yikes! Didn't Hollywood learn its lesson with The Mummy and Jaws 3-D? This one is loosely based on the 1864 novel by sci-fi legend Jules Verne. In 1864, they didn't know the Earth was full of molten rock, so a hollow shell full of dinosaurs was plausible enough to sell books. You can bet this will be hokey, but as a big screen version of a theme park ride, this might do just fine -- wearing those silly glasses is always fun and the PG rating guarantees a decent box office take. (TSM)





MAMMA MIA!


Not Yet Rated * July 18


& lt;span class= "dropcap " & I & lt;/span & f Donna (Meryl Streep) wants to cavort on a Greek island and sing ABBA songs, then more power to her fading baby boomer self. Julie Walters and Christine Baranski play her girl-buddies; Bachelors No. 1 (Pierce Brosnan), 2 (Stellan Skarsgard) and 3 (Colin Firth, meow) play the guys who may or may not have fathered Donna's daughter.





As for the songs, we hear they've got a really good beat and you can dance to them. The title song ("my, my, how could I resist you?") punctuates Streep's embarrassed encounter with all three of her former lovers. "Dancing Queen" and "Super-Trouper" provide excuses for some girl-group singing; and when three lusty women encounter the three hunks, it's time to cue "Gimme, Gimme, Gimme (A Man After Midnight)." The only possible ABBA song for the multiple weddings at the end is, of course, "I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do." Disco songs are so deep. (MB)





THE X FILES: I WANT TO BELIEVE


Not Yet Rated * July 25


& lt;span class= "dropcap " & I & lt;/span & n typical X-File fashion, everything about this movie is Top Secret (only key members of the film crew were actually allowed to read the script). So far, there hasn't been much in the way of leaks, so the storyline remains unknown. It has been said that the film is a freestanding story, following the tradition of many great episodes from the TV series. Either way, many devotees are sure to flock to the theater to see what Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) and Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) are up to this time -- 10 years after the first movie and six years after the end of the series. Also starring are Xzibit, Amanda Peet and Billy Connolly. Chris Carter, the series' creator and the film's co-writer, directs. (JF)





STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS


Not Yet Rated * August 15


& lt;span class= "dropcap " & T & lt;/span & he model usually has an animated film character spinning into a TV series (like Buzz Lightyear and Jimmy Neutron), but George Lucas is turning that on its head. A bit surprised by the success of the 2003 Clone Wars series on Cartoon Network, Lucasfilm is now making an animated film version, which will then launch a new, improved series on Cartoon Network -- this time in 3D with more than 100 episodes scheduled. If you don't know Yoda from Boba Fett, the Clone Wars take place between Episodes II and III -- while Anakin Skywalker is still a good guy. He and his Jedi buddies kick clone and droid butt all over the galaxy, with the occasional showdown with Count Dooku and General Grievous. As for the film, details are locked down, but know this: The adventure continues. (TSM)





THE SECOND TIER


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WHAT HAPPENS IN VEGAS


Rated PG-13 * May 9


Ashton Kutcher and Cameron Diaz's Jack and Joy have every reason to resent each other: They get drunk, stay out all night, get married "accidentally," then squabble over whose quarter made them slot machine millionaires. So of course they see past their differences and fall in love. Of course. (MB)





YOU DON'T MESS WITH THE ZOHAN


Rated PG-13 * June 6


Screenwriter and comedian Adam Sandler stars as Zohan, a studly Israeli commando who fakes his own death to start a new life in New York -- as a hairdresser. Emmanuelle Chriqui plays a Palestinian beauty who falls in love with him, oblivious to his past -- which catches up with him. Reviews so far indicate it's not the typical Sandler, and audience reaction is uproarious. (MLO)





THE HAPPENING


Not Yet Rated * June 13


Is anyone excited about an M. Night Shyamalan movie anymore? No? Not even Disney, his slavish admirer and patron lo these half-dozen films. After the lackluster "bedtime story," Lady in the Water, Shyamalan's latest is being released with almost no fanfare, despite starring Mark Wahlberg and Zooey Deschanel. Despite being about nothing less than disappearing honeybees, feared terrorist strikes and ultimately the end of the world. Or perhaps, I guess, because of it. (LB)





THE LOVE GURU


Not Yet Rated * June 20


YouTube "Love Guru" and a half-dozen or so videos pop up. One's the trailer. The rest are promotional "mini sutras" from the title character. The mini sutras are seriously hilarious, Mike Myers creating an unusually nuanced character (for him). The promise of the mini sutras is totally destroyed, though, by the film's actual trailer: all dumb puns and nut taps. If not for the title card, I'd have just assumed Austin Powers had grown a beard and come back for another sequel. Sucks. (LB)





WANTED


Not Yet Rated * June 27


Beautiful woman (Angelina Jolie) approaches dorky guy (James McAvoy) in the supermarket and tells him his father -- who the dorky guy didn't know was alive -- was killed yesterday. And get this, she says: He was an assassin. Thus begins the successful recruitment of dorky guy -- who apparently inherited his father's ballistic gifts -- to the Fraternity of Assassins. Will he use his "gifts" for good or evil? Jolie and Morgan Freeman are the dorky guy's mentors. (DN)





KIT KITTREDGE: AN AMERICAN GIRL


Rated G * July 2


Nancy Drew meets the doll-and-book franchise. Abigail Breslin (Nim's Island, Little Miss Sunshine) -- who in real life just turned 12 -- plays a 10-year-old in 1934 Cincinnati. Dad lost his job because it's the Depression and a robber took all her family's money, so naturally Kit would like to write a newspaper story (over the objections of crabby newspaper publisher Wallace Shawn). An ensemble of name actors will create a You Can't Take It With You atmosphere: eccentrics happily pursuing their quirks even as the economy tanks. It's the first feature film for Mattel's American Girl empire. (MB)





THE WACKNESS


Rated R * July 3


New York, 1994, and marijuana's in the air. To a soundtrack filled with Raekwon, R. Kelly, and DJ Jazzy Jeff, a teenage drug dealer (a slimmed-down Josh Peck, as in Nickelodeon's Drake & amp; Josh) lacks so much confidence around the ladies that he's in need of serious therapy. And a big-city psychotherapist (Ben Kingsley, in sleazy mode) is in need of some serious weed. Guess what deal gets hammered out. But we've got goose bumps (the wrong kind) over the prospect of seeing Sir Ben, 65, making out with Mary-Kate Olson, 21. (MB)





MEET DAVE


Not Yet Rated * July 11


In an effort to save their doomed planet, Eddie Murphy and a crew of tiny fellow aliens come to Earth in a spaceship shaped like Eddie Murphy. The crew, operating out of the big Eddie Murphy's brain (in a command center that looks not unlike the deck of the starship Enterprise) must learn human customs and assimilate Big Eddie into the New Yorkers around him, with predictably awkward, robotic -- and potentially funny -- results. (JS)





SPACE CHIMPS


Not Yet Rated * July 18


When a NASA spacecraft gets inexplicably lost, Ham III (Andy Samberg) -- the grandson of the first chimp in space -- blasts off to find it in this animated family film. More clown than astronaut, Ham soon learns that space is no place for monkey business as he and his crewmates Luna (Cheryl Hines) and Titan (Patrick Warburton) must save a distant planet from an evil tyrant. (MLO)





AMERICAN TEEN


Rated PG-13 * July 25


Following five teenagers -- archetypes of various cliques -- through their senior year of high school in economically depressed Warsaw, Indiana, the documentary won Nanette Burstein the directing award from the 2008 Sundance Film Festival. (LB)





THE LONGSHOTS


Not Yet Rated * July 25


It's based on the true story of Jasmine Plummer, the first girl to play in the boy-dominated arena of Pop Warner football. At age 11, she leads her team at quarterback and takes them to the league's version of the Super Bowl. Keke Palmer plays Jasmine, though the biggest name in the film is Ice Cube. The film is directed by Fred Durst, director of the 2007 release The Education of Charlie Banks. (JF)





STEP BROTHERS


Rated R * July 25


No one's going to put Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly on the list of great comic duos, but they do have a kind of goofy chemistry. Here they play Brennan and Dale, two unemployed 30-somethings who become stepbrothers and share a bedroom when their parents marry. At first they hate each other, but they grow to become friends. This movie probably won't win an Oscar, but chances are you'll laugh through some of it. (DN)





THE MUMMY: TOMB OF THE DRAGON EMPEROR


Not Yet Rated * Aug. 1


The third film in The Mummy adventure series takes explorer Rick O'Connell (Brendan Fraser) to China to fix a mess created by his son Alex (Luke Ford), who somehow removed a curse placed 2,000 years ago on the ruthless Dragon Emperor and his 10,000-man army. Oops. Instead of spending the rest of eternity hanging somewhere between life and death, the monarch is free to conquer the world. The O'Connells spend the rest of the movie trying to put the emperor back in his tomb. (DN)





THE ROCKER


Not Yet Rated * Aug. 1


Life was good in the 1980s for Robert "Fish" Fishman (Rainn Wilson), who was living a dream as the drummer for the popular rock band Vesuvius. Alas, his dream dies when his fellow band members boot him out. His 20-year search to reclaim his rightful place as a music star leads him to his nephew's high school rock band. Pete Best -- remember him as the booted Beatle? -- makes a cameo appearance. (DN)





SWING VOTE


Rated PG-13 * Aug. 1


So, there's this everyman guy named Bud Johnson (Kevin Costner), who's nice and apathetic, preferring beer to action. (Who doesn't?) He also has a young, smart-as-a-whip daughter named Molly who watches over him. But then, on Election Day, Molly plays a little mischief, which, by accident, leads to an election that will be determined by one vote -- her father's. Also starring are Kelsey Grammer, Nathan Lane, George Lopez, Judge Reinhold and Willie Nelson. Joshua Michael Stern directs. (JF)





FLY ME TO THE MOON


Rated G * Aug. 8


How many times have you wished you could have been a fly on the wall during some pivotal event in history? Ga-ack! That's the joke driving this 3D animated movie from nWave Pictures. Three kid flies stow away aboard Apollo 11 for adventure, hijinks -- and they even save the day. Who would've guessed? Astronaut Buzz Aldrin makes an appearance along with an unusual cast of voice actors: Adrienne Barbeau, Nicollette Sheridan, Kelly Ripa and Tim Curry. (KT)





PINEAPPLE EXPRESS


Rated R * Aug. 8


Stoner Dale Denton (Seth Rogen) gets a little more insight that he bargains for when smoking some Pineapple Express -- a rare and potent new strain of weed that he scores from his dealer Saul Silver (James Franco). While toking up, he witnesses a murder -- and drops his roach at the scene. But dude -- is it so rare that it's genetically traceable? It's not the noids, man. The killers are coming, and it's not a baggie they want. (MLO)





THE SISTERHOOD OF THE TRAVELING PANTS 2


Rated PG-13 * Aug. 8


Catch up with Lena, Bridget, Carmen and Tibby, who've gone off to college but are still the bestest of friends. Could be dangerously sweet and sentimental, but since the first one got tagged as a heartwarming, sincere coming-of-age story, that's no surprise. Think of it as a wholesome teen anti-Sex and the City -- four best friends, linked by clothing, who learn that enduring friendship is more important than all the boyfriends in the world. (AC)





MIRRORS


Rated R * Aug. 15


The hills are no longer the only things anthropomorphizing and wreaking havoc upon humans. Director Alexandre Aja (The Hills Have Eyes) will once again bring an inanimate object to life in an attempt to terrify audiences. This time it's mirrors. The film, starring Kiefer Sutherland, is based on a series of legends and myths that Aja found on www.mirrorsmyth.com. According to Aja, Mirrors balances both gore and the supernatural to form a tone much like The Shining. (TLM)





TROPIC THUNDER


Rated R * Aug. 15


In an effort to capture the realities of war, a film crew heads deep into the jungle to shoot "guerrilla style" and quickly starts getting shot at themselves. It's a parody directed by Ben Stiller. The best part: Robert Downey Jr. plays a serious Australian method actor who, seeking the biggest challenge of his career, undergoes a kind of pigment replacement surgery to make him look black so he can take the role of the platoon's street-wise sergeant. (LB)





THE ACCIDENTAL HUSBAND


Rated PG-13 * Aug. 22


When radio talk show host Emma Lloyd (Uma Thurman), hated by men across New York, convinces a caller named Sofia (Justina Machado) to dump Patrick Sullivan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), it's all about revenge for this New York firefighter. He fakes the city's records to say that he is married to Emma and causes a rift in her upcoming nuptials with Richard Bratton (Colin Firth). Patrick soon becomes smitten with Emma and a love triangle ensues. (TLM)





BANGKOK DANGEROUS


Rated R * Aug. 22


Nicolas Cage once again plays a loner working as a hit man -- yet owning a kind heart. When he's not murdering what the film delineates as "bottom feeders," people who make their living off of human misery, he struggles with his occupationally forced introversion. When he hires a pickpocket named Kong (Shahkrit Yamnarm), who he plans to kill after Kong completes his job, he decides instead to mentor him. Cage then discovers the plot behind his hit job and for the first time goes against his hirers. (TLM)





CROSSING OVER


Not Yet Rated * Aug. 22


It's the prototypical story of illegal immigrants, border agents and the desperate search for something better set in Los Angeles. In other words, it's about people seeking the American Dream -- only to find that it's more of a fantasy than reality. The cast includes Harrison Ford, Ray Liotta, Sean Penn and Ashley Judd. The film was written and directed by Wayne Kramer, who brought us Running Scared in 2006. (JF)





THE HOUSE BUNNY


Not Yet Rated * Aug. 22


Written by the same people who brought you Legally Blonde, this is a carbon copy with a Girls Next Door/Hugh Hefner twist. Anna Faris (of Scary Movie fame) stars as a Playboy Bunny who gets kicked out of the mansion and becomes a housemother at a sorority full of freaks and weirdos. She teaches them to be glamorous and shallow. They teach her to be human. Touching. Faris might be worth a few laughs. (JS)





WILD CHILD


Rated PG-13 * Aug. 22


A rich, bratty teenybopper named Poppy -- our wild child -- is sent to England by her fed-up father. She goes from too cool to fish-out-of-water, learns some good lessons from the hard-nosed Brits (as well as lacrosse) and becomes a better, more understanding person for her effort. No doubt her boarding school mates will learn a few lessons from our Malibu Barbie. The film stars Emma Roberts as Poppy and Aidan Quinn as her father and is directed by Nick Moore. (JF)





BABYLON A.D


Rated PG-13 * Aug. 29


This twice-delayed, over-budget sci-fi thriller could be a... what do they call those bloated things in space? Gas giants? Yeah, this could be a gas giant of a movie but fans won't care because of One. Big. Reason: Vin Diesel and Michelle Yeoh. OK, that's two big reasons: Vin Diesel and Michelle Yeoh and moody Czech Republic scenery. OK, that's three big reasons... then there's the whole genetic mutation as Savior factor... See how this adds up? It'll be great! (KT)





COLLEGE


Rated R * Aug. 29


This is the latest in the Animal House/college-frat-boys-get-drunk-and-run-amok genre. High school seniors Kevin, Morris and Carter go off to Fairmont University for freshman orientation weekend, get drunk, get the girls and generally have the weekend of their lives, even though their fraternity brother hosts take advantage of them. The high schoolers vow to get even. Too bad John Belushi wasn't available. (DN)





TRAITOR


Not Yet Rated * Aug. 29


Academy Award winner Don Cheadle is a U.S. Special Operations officer working undercover in a terrorist group, but soon he becomes the suspect in an international conspiracy -- and the hunter becomes the hunted. Guy Pearce plays the by-the-book FBI agent sent to investigate the increasingly elusive operative, while Jeff Daniels is a CIA veteran. Pre-screeners hint at taut suspense. (TLM)





MOVIES THAT WE MIGHT GET


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REDBELT


Rated R * May 9


Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu expert and personal safety instructor Mike Terry (Chiwetel Ejiofor) gets a job as a film producer, but falls victim to a con man, putting him in a situation where he has to go against his beliefs and get into the ring to fight and raise money. The film is directed by David Mamet, himself a purple belt in Jiu-Jitsu. Tim Allen, long known for his comedic work, plays a dramatic role. (DN)





YOUNG@HEART


Rated PG * May 16


When two-dozen 80-somethings belt out the Bee Gees' hit "Stayin' Alive" and Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive," the songs become far more than anthems to indomitable youth. This documentary follows a western Massachusetts chorus of seniors from rehearsals to concerts, including footage from a show at a prison. If you're young enough to still think elderly people are funny just because they're old, then go for the laughs. You might think differently on the way out. (AC)





HOUNDDOG


Rated R * July 18


Dakota Fanning stars as a messed-up kid in a messed-up family in the messed-up American South in the 1950s. Her only solace in the midst of this is Elvis Presley and blues music. Controversial because of a rape scene involving Fanning, it provoked a North Carolina state senator last year to call for scripts of all films shot in his state (this one was) to be approved by the government first. Dirty Dancing (partially filmed there) never would've made the cut. (JS)





BRIDESHEAD REVISITED


Rated PG-13 * Aug. 1


How to reduce the 1982 PBS series (Jeremy Irons struggling with agnosticism, adultery and repressed homosexual feeling) from 11 hours down to less than two? Focus on Charles's relationship with Julia and leave her aristocratic brother Sebastian Flyte out of it. In the Lord and Lady Marchmain roles, Michael Gambon and Emma Thompson take over for Laurence Olivier and Claire Bloom. It's all based on Evelyn Waugh's 1945 novel about social classes and Catholicism. (MB)





HAMLET 2


Rated R * Aug. 29


Steve Coogan (Tristram Shandy) plays a high school teacher who saves his theater program by writing and staging a truly awful musical sequel to Shakespeare's tragedy. Somehow that involves a gay men's chorus, a dancing Jesus, Satan kissing the U.S. president, and plenty of acid. (MB)

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    • Dec 17, 2014
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